Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gambling is evil

I will not be continuing my Creationism posts today. I do plan to return to them soon.

Then, I plan to answer the response about Iraq. I am sorry for the change in plans. Plans, in reality, often are altered for one reason or another. “The best laid plans … often go astray.” Thank you for your understanding and patience.

How many unborn toddlers were murdered today because of the humanistic, paganish, barbaric decisions of the United States Supreme Court?

Stop the
Murder of

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4: 17 (NIV)

I’ve been meaning to post this for some time but have not been able to find it. I’m posting it tonight just to insure that it gets posted before I misplace it again. Because of its length, I’m not going to comment.

“Christians Oppose Gambling because It’s Evil
I Timothy 6: 6-12

We feel complimented when we are asked to repeat a program that we have done once before—and we are thrilled to comply with the request for an encore presentation on this program, ‘Why Christians Oppose Gambling.’

Welcome my friend, to our program of Bible study ‘In Search of the Lord’s Way’—to become a Christian and to live the Christian life. Say, we are so encouraged and very encouraged when we hear from you that you are being blessed in some way by what we are saying and doing here. Thanks for joining us in our study today, too.

Evil abounds—I mean it grows and flourishes when good people say and do nothing to resist it. Evil is the absence of good. It is like what happens when you turn off the lights in a room, darkness suddenly fills the place. Therefore, we are encouraged when we see and hear good people who are committed to righteousness, standing against the evil trends in the community, or in the church, or the nation—or well, anywhere else. And that is what is happening in our nation today. As we have declared war on evil forces from without our country, we also need to be taking a stand against the evil that prevails right among us here in the nation. The Bible says, ‘Submit yourselves … to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ That is James 4 and 7.

There is a devious evil that is growing very rapidly in our nation these days. It is of great concern to many of our viewers. And some of you have asked for help in defeating it before it becomes a bigger problem. In response we are giving today’s program the title, ‘Christians Oppose Gambling Because It’s Evil.’

If you think you would like a printed copy or an audio cassette tape of the message, you may have it free by sending your request to In Search of the Lord’s Way, P.O. Box 371, Edmond, OK 73083. Or you may use our toll free telephone number—1-800-321-8633. Our e-mail address is Ken Helterbrand is going to lead us (in singing—my addition), and then we will be back for that encore presentation of the subject to be discussed today.

We are reading today from the apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, beginning in chapter 6, verse 6 and we will read through verse 12 (NIV). ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.’ Now let us go to God in prayer. Merciful God and loving Father, we are so thankful to Thee for the encouragement that we have to set our affection on things higher than the material possessions of this world. Bless us in our study today that we may seek Thou way and Thou truth for our lives. In the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.

As much as is being said about it, still evil cannot be clearly identified or defined apart from the Word of God. Without the Bible there is no acceptable standard for right and wrong, and what is evil in the estimate of some people is defined as good by others. Even with such clear teaching as we have in the book of Romans for example, chapter 1, verses 24 through 27 and in I Timothy chapter 1, verses 3 to 11 some people are still unable to define sodomy as evil. Consequently, we are hearing that old bromide of the devil: ‘No one can say for certain that anything is good or bad.’ Then too, evil frequently comes robed in the good that it can do, and so we are prone to ask, ‘Shall we do evil that good may come as in Romans 3 and 8? Or, perhaps you have heard it said, maybe you have said it yourself even; ‘The end justifies the means.’ We must also remember that the devil is the great deceiver, and he very often confuses our thinking so that we are heard to call evil good and good evil. God’s chosen people in the Old Testament days had fallen into that sort of thing and God pronounced a woe on them. And you may read it in Isaiah chapter 5, verse 20. (And they were the recipients and the repository of the Law.) Then too, when government gives sanction to an evil, that evil just then becomes good and right in the minds of most people. For example: in 1973 when the Supreme Court decided in Roe verse Wade that the Constitution of the United States gave a woman the right to kill her little innocent, helpless preborn baby, what had been evil since the founding of our nation, suddenly became right. And what is declared to be good becomes evil in the eyes of government and some people, if done 15 to 30 seconds after the birth of the child.

When we are reminded daily that America is at war with evil, the evil forces all around the world, we are forced to remember, too, that it is impossible to win over evil from without our nation and our community, while we harbor and protect it within our society. It is extremely difficult for a people to define and win over evil abroad, while they deny and wink at its presence in their own way of living. The Bible says, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.’ (Proverbs 14: 34).

The evils to which we give ‘the government stamp of approval’ by legalization become good and right behavior in the eyes of most people. Such approval voids all our prayers to God to bless America. The Bible says, ‘He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil’ (I Peter 3, verses 10 through 12). Later in the same book (I Peter chapter 4, verses 15 and 16) we read” ‘Let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.’ And, David, the man after God’s own heart, said, ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’

Also, there are those who believe the old adage that ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God.’ Therefore, when the majority of the people give sanction to an evil by a majority vote at the poll, the evil on which they decided is made good. However, the times and occasions that I recall reading about in the Bible when the majority ruled, that resulted in personal or national loss or tragedy. A classic example of that is when Moses had been absent from the camp of Israel for forty days. He had been up on the mountain, you know, receiving the law from God, and when he returned, the people had made for themselves another god, a golden calf, and they were worshiping it. Moses was very angry (and so was God) and Moses asked Aaron, in whom he had the greatest confidence all the experience before, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them? So Aaron said, do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us, as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’’ (Read the story for yourself in Exodus, chapter 32).

Oh well, if you are familiar with the Bible you know there are other incidents in the Bible like that. One of the best known such incidents is recorded in Matthew chapter 27. It was the time when Governor Pilate presented an alternative to the people who wanted him to order the crucifixion of Jesus. He proposed that a known murderer and insurrectionist named Barabbas be crucified instead of Jesus. But the people chose to release Barabbas and crucify Jesus. ‘And Pilate pleaded with them and he asked, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, ‘Let Him be crucified!’’ And it was done. That is what the people wanted. One evil after another because it is what the people want, and over the passing of time, a nation becomes morally corrupt—and falls from decay (from—my addition) within.

My friend, gambling is evil and righteous people not only need to avoid it, but oppose it everywhere and every time it raises its ugly head, even if it means we suffer for it. The Bible says, ‘It is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil’ (I Peter 3: 17). We are taught to ‘Abhor (meaning to loathe or despise) that which is evil’ (Romans 12: 9), and to ‘abstain from the very form of evil’ (I Thessalonians 5: 22). We are admonished ‘Do not be overcome of evil, but overcome evil by good’ (Romans 12: 21. ‘Do not be deceived: evil company corrupts good habits’ (I Corinthians 15: 33). ‘Beware of evil workers’ (Philippians 3 and 2). ‘Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.’ (II Timothy 3: 13 and 14). And perhaps one of the most encouraging and hopeful verses in all the word of God that teaches on evil is II Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 3. And it says, ‘The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you (or keep you, King James Version) from the evil one.’

So, good people are taught to, not only refrain from gambling, but to ‘loathe’ or despise it. But, where does the Bible mention gambling or say it is sinful? Well, the word itself isn’t a biblical word. It isn’t in the Bible by that name. But, consider with me some biblical teachings which are violated by gambling.

The first appeal of gambling is greed. It is all about money, my friend, not morals. And the Bible says, ‘The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But, you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, and godliness, and faith, and love, and patience, and gentleness’ (I Timothy 6, verses 10 and 11). We read them at the outset of the message. Morals and ethics are of no concern to the gambling industry. Whether it is state sponsored or privately sponsored, gambling can succeed only in proportion to the greed (the love of money) that it can generate among the people. The word is usually in the New Testament ‘covetousness,’ well both in the New Testament and the Old Testament in the King James Versions, but in the New American Standard Version (and others) it is translated ‘greed.’ It actually means an eagerness to have more,—or to have more of what belongs to another person. It is strongly denounced by the Savior in Luke chapter 12, verse 15, where He said, ‘Beware, and be on your guard (that is a double warning) against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’ Solomon said, ‘They lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain: it takes away the life of its owners’ (Proverbs 1, verses 18-19). In Ephesians 5 and 3 it is mentioned along with fornication and uncleanness as things that are not ‘once to be named among you as become saints.’ Colossians 3 and 5 it is even defined as ‘idolatry’ here. And Jesus said a person cannot serve two gods. In His own words found in Matthew 6: 24, He said, ‘You cannot serve God and mammon.’ And ‘mammon’ comes from a common Aramaic word which means ‘riches.’ So what He is saying is simply this: No person can serve God—and money.

The second appeal of gambling is the hope of getting something without working for it—or a legitimate investment for it. Therefore, gambling encourages a life of indolence and laziness, the end result of which, of course is poverty—then welfare. And that is diametrically opposed to the Lord’s way described in Ephesians 4: 28. ‘Let him that stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.’

You see, the Lord’s way is not only to cleanse a person from a sinful past and give him eternal life in Jesus Christ. It also includes transforming him into a responsible, respectable, productive member of society, engaged in business or industry—or some form of productive labor by which he is financially able to assist in good works. Gambling makes him a drone or a parasite. Gambling is all about money—not morals.

Gambling was outlawed in early America because it took workers from the field and made them idle and slothful. Communities were forced to support gamblers who were quote: ‘down on their luck.’ It is true even now. Gambling hasn’t changed. It has never been the servant of man to bring prosperity; it has always been the false god that demanded all the gambler has or can borrow and all he can steal.

It is amazing isn’t it: some politicians promise prosperity in exchange for our votes, then they advocate some sort of state sponsored gambling scheme that thrives only on the losses that will bring us to poverty. Think about it, friend: God says, ‘Let no man deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them’ (Ephesians 5: 6 and 7). State sponsored lotteries (or any other kind of gambling scheme, state sponsored or otherwise) depend on the losses of the gambler if they are to succeed. Instead of getting people off welfare, they put people on welfare. Gambling is evil, my friend. And despite all that, it has become our national pastime.

Well next, gambling robs the poor, the down-and-out, who have fanciful, fictitious dreams of winning and living like a millionaire without having to work for it. It is a known, a well published fact, that it is the poor, not the rich, who buy the lottery tickets. (Casinos? Well, that may be a different story; they may attract the elite, the wealthy. I wouldn’t know about that.) But after a program we did on this subject some years ago, a lady wrote me a very sad letter in which she begged me not to say that gambling preyed on the poor exclusively. She and her husband had been unusually wealthy. Then he became a compulsive gambler in Vegas and other glamorous places with people of prominence and prestige. He died a pauper. She remarried and they have done right well.

Gambling is a matter of money. There is no thought or place for morals and ethics; there is absolutely no concern for destroying the person of the gambler. Let us pray. Father, we thank Thee for the teaching that You give us on how to live right. We pray now that we can have the courage to do it and resist wrong. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Of course you know, the word ‘gospel’ means ‘good news.’ And while we think of it as a ‘religious word,’ it really isn’t one at all. It could be used in reference to any good-news-message, but we use it almost exclusively when we are talking about Christianity. That means that the Lord’s way is ‘good news’ in whatever we are talking about. In our honest moments—I mean in the times that we are alone, perhaps tossing on our pillow in the early morning hours, just thinking—most of us would admit that we would like a little better life for ourselves, for our families, at school, on the job or in business or wherever—well, in all our relationships. We would just like to do better. But, how do we do it? That is the question. We need help, don’t we? Here is where the way of Christ becomes good news.

Oh, you have heard me say it week after week, if you have been seeing the program for awhile: The Lord’s way is the best way to live together that has ever been introduced to the family of man. And I believe that! And that is why I am urging you to become a Christian. Just as we have pointed out His better way as an alternative to this growing problem of gambling, His solution to every difficult life situation excels anything that has ever been introduced to us. It is true with gambling, too. Just say ‘no.’ Yes, the Lord’s way to live is the best way we know about anything. But, it is more. His way to cope with what many of us can honestly say was an ugly past, is certainly ‘gospel’ or good news. It was Jesus who said, ‘He who believes and is baptized, will be saved’ (Mark 16: 16). I recommend that to you as being the far better way than simply repeating what some people call a sinner’s prayer , or by answering an alter call, or inviting Jesus to come into your heart. Well, why would I say that? Well, because the Lord said it, and He didn’t say the others. His way of salvation is best. And, the hope that Christ brings to the worst sinner is far, far better or beyond anything anybody else has ever offered you. You see, He offers a resurrection to life, based on His resurrection from the dead. Christ makes the best offer you will ever hear, so why not accept it? Accept it today. Oh, I hope you will.”


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